Chef Mavis-Jay is an award winning culinarian and storyteller working at the intersection of food and social justice, encouraging communities to celebrate the joys of life and humanity through food. Mavis-Jay creates captivating gatherings for all sized groups, both in-person and virtual.
Born into a large southern family, Mavis-Jay began mastering southern cooking before she could even see over the counter. Legend has it, she perfected pound cake before her ABC’s. She later went on to study French technique and modern sustainable agriculture practices in upstate New York. Mavis-Jay is a chef who wakes up every morning and strives to leave the world a little better. She is a social and racial equity activist that has dedicated her career to fighting for food justice in Black and low-income communities. In 2019, she was honored as one of Star Chefs’ New York Rising Stars. She is a James Beard Chef’s Boot Camp alum, a mentor to the James Beard Foundation’s Fellowship Program, and a Chef’s Collaborative scholar. Chef can also be found as a establishing board member of the Queer Food Foundation, on God’s Love We Deliver’s culinary counsel, and in the Black Farmer’s Fund pilot community.
Mavis-Jay’s food focuses on celebrating Black American heritage, joy, and a journey to reclaim Black food sovereignty. In 2020, she joined the team at Drive Change as Director of Culinary Development and Education offering a free, paid, world class culinary and hospitality training to formerly incarcerated youth, culminating in career placement. Most recently, Mavis-Jay was recognized as a Game Changer by Dine Diaspora and awarded a James Beard Foundation award for leadership in 2022.